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Last Updated: 01/11/10 5:12pm
Riverside Theatre: Successful comeback
Riverside Theatre was a convincing winner of the Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Graduation Chase at Kempton on Monday.
A fast-finishing fifth in the Arkle at Cheltenham in March, Nicky Henderson's six-year-old was sent off the 6-4 joint-favourite to maintain his unbeaten record at the Sunbury track.
Barry Geraghty settled the Jimmy Nesbitt-owned gelding behind the keen early pace set by Golan Way and Tatenen, and warmed to his task at halfway.
Having eased to the front turning into the straight, Geraghty gave him an inch of rein to beat Free World by nine lengths, without being asked a question.
Riverside Theatre was subsequently cut in to 12/1 from 20s by Sky Bet for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
Although Nicky Henderson is yet to reveal future plans for last season's Arkle fifth, his charge figures among eight stable entries with the weights for the valuable handicap chase due to be released on Wednesday.
Sky Bet spokesman Matt Doyle said: "Riverside Theatre has played his hand early for the Paddy Power by winning before the weights come out and the Henderson squad also number Long Run among a formidable team of entries for the Grade 3 showpiece."
Despite those price changes, Henderson was in no rush to commit to either target - but was cool about a possible tilt at the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
"His novice chase career went well until the Arkle when he found out that two miles wasn't his trip," said Henderson.
"He's always looked bigger and stronger and rounder this season and looks a completely different horse.
"I was petrified today. This was always the race and we've been weighing him religiously.
"You'd have to be impressed with what he did. The nice thing was he was very relaxed as he used to be a keen horse, even over two miles.
"I would desperately think not the Paddy Power - it's only on Saturday week and he's not a horse who wants throwing around like that.
"I would like to have a little look through (the racing programme).
"To throw them into a handicap is very difficult - I don't think the Paddy Power's the right race for him. Whether he'd ever get three miles, I don't know.
"The Peterborough Chase (Huntingdon, December 9) would be the right sort of race and Barry and I think that would probably be the right trip," he told Racing UK.